House Passage Sends WIA to President’s Desk
Bipartisan Bill Supports High-Performing Providers of Job-Training Services, Ensures Workers Equipped with 21st Century Skills
A proposal from U.S. Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO) and Rob Portman (R-OH) to support high-performing job-training services is slated to become law following passage of the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) in the House of Representatives today. The bill now heads to the president’s desk to be signed into law in the coming days.
The provision will help improve federal job training programs by allowing state and local governments to direct job-training dollars toward innovative new pay-for-success models that reward results and meet the needs of employers. The pay-for-success proposal was originally at the center of a bill Bennet and Portman introduced last year in the Careers Through Responsive, Efficient, and Effective Retraining (CAREER) Act.
“We have a skills gap in the country that is hurting workers and employers alike, and it’s holding our economy back,” Bennet said. “If we’re going to remain competitive in the 21st century economy, we need to make sure that our job training services are preparing workers for the jobs that need filling. This pay-for-success provision will steer federal dollars to the programs that are successful in getting people back to work.”
“For too many Americans, the only jobs that are available are those they don’t have the skills or qualifications to fill,” Portman said. “This has created a skills gap that is hurting unemployed workers and businesses, and is holding back the economy. For the past three years, I have worked in a bipartisan fashion to help these workers get back on a career path by bringing critical reforms to the federal government’s inefficient and outdated workforce development system. I am pleased that today the House passed these reforms along with the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act, bringing the federal government’s primary workforce development programs into the 21st Century.”
Federal job training programs can be a valuable tool to help job seekers acquire skills to reenter the job market. By working in coordination with the local workforce boards and workforce development councils that administer these services, the Bennet-Portman CAREER Act will help these programs better serve employers and workers alike. It will make federal job training more responsive to the needs of employers, more efficient with taxpayer dollars, and more effective in connecting the unemployed with good-paying jobs.
The provision included in the bill passed by the Senate today allows local workforce investment boards to redirect up to 10 percent of the dollars that flow through certain federal job-training funding streams to new pay-for-success contracts. Job-training service providers would become eligible to receive payments and bonus payments, under this new model, if they achieve certain rigorous metrics. Programs that fail to deliver results will not be rewarded.
The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) was first passed by Congress in 1998. It is designed to provide assistance with employment searches, career development, and job training. Congress has not successfully reauthorized WIA since 1998.
The Bennet-Portman CAREER Act has the support of the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Skills Coalition, the HR Policy Association, Corporate Voices for Working Families, the Colorado Workforce Development Council, and the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment.